Selfies and smartphones bring Godspell into the modern era

Some of the cast of Godspell in selfie mode. Photograph: York Light Opera
22 Jun 2015 @ 4.18 pm
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Upstage Centre Youth Theatre, Monkgate, York

Tues Jun 23-Sat Jun 27 @ 7.30pm; Sat matinee @ 2.30pm


York Light Opera website

It was a musical written in the Seventies and based on a 2,000 year old story. So how do you update it for the digital era?

That was the challenge facing York Light Opera when they decided to stage Godspell, running in York this week.

The answer was some careful updating to the Stephen Schwarz musical, based on the New Testament gospels.

This new production will include references to social media, smartphones and TV shows, woven into parables like the good Samaritan and the prodigal son.

Director Hilary Dyson explains:

When we first meet the cast they are locked away in their own worlds, focusing only on themselves, their TV shows, video games and Facebook updates, living with the frustrations of 21st century life.

When Jesus arrives he teaches them how to communicate with each other again, and work together to form a better society.

‘Silly with a strong message’

Hilary Dyson
Hilary Dyson
Godspell was one of the earliest compositions by Stephen Schwartz, now best known as the composer for the hit musical Wicked.

The songs are varied in style and genre, from the lilting Day By Day to the show stopping All For The Best.

In keeping with some of the show’s digital themes the cast members have all taken selfies, and these photos will feature in the performance.

Hilary says:

We want this to be a show that everyone, of all ages and all backgrounds, can come to and enjoy.

It’s funny, silly and light-hearted but has a strong message about the importance of working together and not isolating yourself from the world.